With the majority of people working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we've had a lot of time to get to know our new coworkers. They nap on the job…they constantly try to steal our lunch…and sometimes they don't understand personal space. Oh, and they're furry.
When working from home, you might be tempted to complain about these little quirks that come with having a dog or cat for an officemate. The truth is, though, working from home with pets can be productive, fun, and healthy for both pets and their owners.
Pets Help Maintain a Routine
It's easy to feel like working from home is too unstructured. Fortunately, having a pet means you can't just stay in bed scrolling on your phone all day. Cats and dogs expect to be fed or walked at specific times, and they'll be more than happy to remind you if you're late.
By nudging you to stick to a schedule, pets help you start the day right. Maintaining a routine helps both you and your pets feel a sense of normalcy that contributes to increased productivity on your part, and less anxiety on your pet's.
They Keep You Active
Walking your dog or letting your cat chase a feather keeps you active as well, which is especially important when it's harder to get to the gym. Various state health organizations encourage activity during COVID to promote strong immune systems and both physical and mental health.
Even outside a pandemic, taking short, frequent breaks from hunching over a computer is better for your overall health. It's just easier to remember to do so with a pet giving you pleading "Play with me now!" eyes.
It Reduces Stress All-Around
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America actually calls it "the pet effect": owning a pet definitively makes people happier and healthier. Having a pet is a fantastic way to alleviate the stress that naturally comes in such uncertain times.
And the positive effects of human-pet interactions run both ways. One-third of owners believe their pets seem happier and more playful now that their parents are home all the time, and owners are bonding with their pets like never before.
In other words, even if working from home is a sudden change - and even if your cat loves to walk across the screen during Zoom conferences - pets are some of the best coworkers you could find.